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Washington: Describing it as a personal victory for prime minister Manmohan Singh before the visit of US president Barack Obama to India, American media today said the passage of the Nuclear Liability bill would pave the way for much needed foreign investment in the crucial atomic energy sector of the country, reports PTI.
"With the passage of the bill, prime minister Manmohan Singh emerges politically stronger, demonstrating a resolve to push the deal through ahead of US president Barack Obama's visit this year," The Wall Street Journal said.
"The bill will enable US companies to compete with state-run European rivals as India is expected to invest more than $100 billion in nuclear power," the newspaper said.
The Lok Sabha yesterday passed the Civil Liability for the Nuclear Damages Bill after government dropped the contentious provision of "intent" in case of accidents, ending months of wrangling between treasury benches and the opposition.
"If the bill is passed by the Upper House of parliament as expected, it will start to open the door for overseas companies," The Journal said.
"Passage of the nuclear bill was a personal victory for prime minister Manmohan Singh, who forged a deal in 2008 giving India access to international nuclear technology, ending isolation imposed after it tested a nuclear weapon in the late 1990s," reported the Los Angeles Times.
"The Obama administration, having convinced many US allies that India was a reliable nuclear power that would not contribute to the proliferation of weapons, reportedly sought passage of the bill in advance of the president's trip," the daily said.
"The passage by the Lok Sabha - House of the People - ahead of a scheduled November visit by president Obama is seen as a personal victory for prime minister Manmohan Singh, who signed the landmark civilian agreement with president (George W) Bush in 2008," said The Washington Times.
America's General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric Corp are among the foreign energy suppliers that stand to gain a share of India's civilian nuclear business, estimated as possibly reaching $150 billion a year, it said.
"American companies consider a liability cap particularly important because, unlike the state-subsidized French and Russian nuclear suppliers, they are not underwritten by their government," it added.
Here are a few remedial steps that can be taken by a bank customer to address the menace of counterfeit money
Yesterday (http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/8523.html) we dwelt on how customers are being short-changed when it comes to the issue of fake currency notes. One thing is clear from all these anecdotes and correspondence - everybody is aware of the problem of fake currency, but nobody wants to bring out a solution with accountability. It does also appear that one reason for this is that where 100% checking is done at the time of dispensing currency, an accountability trail will be established, and the banks don't seem to want that.
Fair enough, if banks wish to be of the opinion that it is not their responsibility to ensure that counterfeit currency notes are not brought into the system, then at least the concerned regulator should start implementing strict rules on the subject.
But since nobody seems to want to go in for cheap and immediate solutions, here are a few things that you can do.
1) If receiving currency from tellers, then insist that the currency notes are checked on a fake-currency detecting machine, in front of you. If your bank branch does not have one, then put it down in writing, demanding one, and send the note to the branch manager. If even a few of us do this at various bank branches every day, the message will get across.
Issue a 'self' cheque for a small amount, Rs1,000 will be enough, and put it through the encashment process. Take the token, or let the teller 'pass' the self cheque, and then do not accept the cash unless it is checked. Leave the cheque behind or take the token home, and see what happens next. The bank manager will come to your house and will have to file a report on why he had to do so.
2) If receiving currency from ATMs, then please be aware that some, very few, new ATMs have a facility for detecting fake currency. You may have to use your own resources to find out which ones. But here too, make a small withdrawal, as usual, and then write a letter demanding that the said ATM should be provided with the facility to check for fake currency notes. Quote the transaction, and start a correspondence, and then wait for a response. The bank will have to respond.
It is amply clear that in the attempt to resolve this contentious issue, there are many parameters - but the most important one is that truth and accountability should not be the first victims. Please start insisting on your rights - unless all of us do not ask our banks to provide for currency-checking machines, we will not see the truth or accountability.
It starts with us. And we owe this effort to those people who are stuck fighting legal cases for being in possession of one fake note because some bank somewhere did not accept its responsibility. Do write in with your experiences on this issue.